• HHSC Palliative Care Council Begins Work

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    The Texas Health and Human Services Commission in February kicked off the Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Advisory Council created by House Bill 1874 (84th, Rep. Zerwas). The council will assess the availability of patient-centered and family-focused palliative care in Texas. The council will advise HHSC on matters related to the establishment, maintenance, operation and outcome evaluation of a statewide consumer and professional information and education program.  Larry Driver, MD of Houston was elected chair.

    More on the Council  
  • What could a TMA membership mean for you, your practice, and your patients?

  • End-of-Life Care Articles

    TX MOST Coalition Hears From Louisiana Doc on LaPOST

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    Spearheaded by some north Texas health care systems and physicians, a coalition has been gathering stakeholders together examining a Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (MOST).  The document is similar to nationally known Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POLST).  Dr. Susan Nelson, MD from Louisiana briefed the coalition on January 29 about successes in her state with “LaPost” in raising physician awareness of this effort to document patient care preferences.

    More on the Coalition
  • Medicare Pays for End-of-Life Consults

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    As of January, Medicare pays physicians for advance care planning as a separate service, a long-sought victory that promotes educating patients and physicians on the issue.

    Palliative Care: Planning, Having the Conversation, and Documentation  
  • End-of-Life Care: The Long Conversation

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    "When we can have these conversations, it turns out that our clinical practice becomes a lot more authentic and satisfying because you actually can achieve valuable clinical goals even when you can't cure someone."  

    More on the Conversation  
  • TMA Seeks Balanced End-of-Life Debate

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    When Bellaire emergency physician Arlo F. Weltge, MD, received a chronically and terminally ill patient in the emergency department, he knew he had to make some quick and complex decisions. The man had terminal cancer and end-stage HIV-AIDS and, because he was nearing cardiopulmonary arrest, could not express his care wishes. Nor had he signed an advance directive.

    Difficult Choices  
  • Respect Patients in Their Final Days

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    The patient-physician relationship is unique in modern American life. Patients place their lives in their physicians’ hands. Not only must they trust in their doctors’ knowledge, experience, and skill, but they also must trust that their physician is acting in their best interest — neither motivated nor distracted by competing interests. In return, the physician is responsible for recommending and applying the most appropriate, science-based treatments for the patient’s individual circumstances and medical conditions. All of these pressures are magnified during the often-emotional final days and weeks of a person’s life.

    Preserve Physicians’ Independent Medical Judgment